Testosterone is an important male hormone and one that can be depressed by foods that lower testosterone. It is important to recognize that both males and females have this sex hormone coursing through their bodies and produce them in varying amounts. The difference is that males produce much more of it than females, giving men their defining characteristics.
Testosterone also goes by the name androgen and is produced in the testes. Inadequate amounts may lead to infertility in men as the process of sperm production requires it. Testosterone is also implicated in libido and plays a role in fat distribution, production of bone mass, muscle size and strength, and red blood cell creation.
As men age, testosterone levels lower, which is often referred to as “low T syndrome” or “late-onset hypogonadism.” After the age of 40, testosterone levels fall as much as 1.6 percent every year for most men. Low testosterone levels can be further augmented by the foods you eat, with the following being some examples.
Foods that lower testosterone
- Alcohol: This has been linked to lowered testosterone levels. By discontinuing excessive alcohol consumption, you can expect to improve the sex life of both you and your partner. It is also advised to avoid mixed drinks, as they may contain excess amounts of sugar, leading to weight gain.
- Ice cream: This tasty treat is packed with sugar and empty calories, making it a poor choice for the health conscious. Ice cream may also lead to increased fatigue and migraine onset when eaten in high quantity. A better-frozen alternative would be frozen or plain yogurt.
- Pasta: Is high in carbohydrates, making it also high in calories. While the body loves carbs and can actually burn them off faster, running a marathon soon after you eat a huge serving of this starchy food is highly unlikely. If you don’t burn off these extra calories, your body will store the extra energy as fat.
- Snacks: Praised for their convenience and delicious taste, snacks like chips, chocolate bars, and cookies are high in sugar and carbohydrates that can instantly raise blood sugar levels. It may take some effort and willpower, but replacing unhealthy snacks with raw vegetables, raw nuts, or even dark chocolate can help increase male libido and provide the body with the healthy fats that your body needs.
- Breakfast biscuits and cookies: Generally considered high in trans fats, as they tend to be highly processed. These types of foods affect hormones in the body, including testosterone. By changing your early morning eating habit to something less processed, you can keep your testosterone levels optimal.
- Nachos and chicken wings: Despite being a favorite “game day” food option, eating nachos can provide the body more carbs than it really needs, leading to excess weight gain. Also, eating deep fried wings can contribute to increased cholesterol levels, which can affect the heart over time.
- Low-fat diet & sugar: Having the right about of fat in the diet is recommended for the release of testosterone as well as to increase sex drive. Studies have shown that low-fat diets contribute to lower testosterone levels, with men who better regulate their blood sugar levels having better sex. The reason for this is that too much sugar in the diet can lower testosterone levels. Many low-fat diets trade fat for carbohydrates, which gets converted into glucose in the body, much like sugar.
- Flax: A widely known health food and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, flax seeds do not contain enough to overcome the effect of low testosterone, as flax seeds themselves contain compounds called lignans that mimic estrogen in the body. Flax seeds are considered to have three times more estrogen-like hormones than soybeans do. If flax seeds are your source of omega 3’s and you are a male suffering from low testosterone, it may be time to get a separate omega 3 supplement.
- Licorice: A herb that most people associate with the worst tasting candy, licorice can help reduce stress when consumed as a tea. But it also contains high amounts of estrogen-like compounds.
- Beer: A different form of alcohol, beer is different as it contains many more calories and carbs and can be very bad for men. The hops used to make beer is estrogenic and contain 300,000 IUs of estrogen per 100g of hops.
- Soy: High in a compound called isoflavones that are proven to be estrogenic, soy is one type of food men with low testosterone should avoid. Their estrogen-like effect has been considered so strong that eating large amounts is almost equivalent to taking birth control pills, in theory.
- Spearmint: This refreshing herb is used in everything from tea to chewing gum. It is also an old remedy for women to get rid of facial hair due to the estrogenic compounds it provides. Eating natural spearmint should be avoided in men concerned about their T levels.
- Legumes and beans: This category of food is known for its estrogenic activity. For example, the lima bean is filled with a compound called phytoestrogenic fiber inositol and lignans that have been proven to lower serum testosterone as well as inhibit dihydrotestosterone levels.
- Whole grains: While considered good for the digestive system, grains have testosterone mechanisms. They contain gluten that can increase prolactin levels and reduce testosterone levels. Diet rich in dietary fiber can also lower testosterone. Additionally, most grains can suck out essential minerals from the body.
- Soda: Soft drinks have excessive quantities of sugar and are one of the major contributors to the obesity epidemic. Not only is the liquid itself bad for you, but the bottles they are packaged in may also harm your health, as they are often made with phthalates that have strong estrogen-like properties.
- Fast food: Most of these establishments use low-grade meats to sell to their customers. The meat sources may be fed low-quality food and injected with antibiotics and growth hormones throughout their lives. Fast food is also very greasy, with the majority of items being deep fried. Sunflower and soybean oil can significantly reduce the testosterone levels in males.
- Cheese: While great on your pizza and nachos, this dairy product can potentially mess with the body’s natural production of the hormone, including estrogen and testosterone.
- High-PUFA vegetable oils: Polyunsaturated fats found in these types of oils has been proven in studies to reduce testosterone levels and should be avoided.
- High doses of dietary fiber: While many people will tell you that increasing your dietary intake of fiber is good for you, it may, in fact, affect testosterone levels. The problem arises when a male eats too much fiber, altering the metabolism of testosterone, decreasing its levels. It is not advised to restrict fiber altogether if low testosterone is a concern, but to eat a regular amount of fiber.
Related: 7 Ways to boost testosterone levels naturally